Chapter 224 – Private Matters, Not Work
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Qi Zhen Emperor had yet to comment on Su Ziluo’s words when the Crown Prince began to fluster, “Teacher Su, was it? Whether or not Secretary Ji killed this man, hasn’t a life already been repaid with another? If he really was killed by Secretary Ji, just let this matter be. Did you expect the Great Lin to compensate your Qujiang by tenfold?”
His words really were disgusting!
Who would have thought that Qi Zhen would be so pleased with the Crown Prince’s declaration. However, after all, that was exactly what he wanted to say himself.
‘Good job, my son! You’ve just spoken my mind!’
On the surface, however, he could not overindulge him and instead gave Jing Hua a stern glare. “Watch your manners!”
“Your son admits his faults!”
Jing Hua grudgingly stepped back.
Qi Zhen wore a cold smile as he turned to Su Ziluo, and said, “Regarding this matter, I will definitely give Qujiang an answer. In the meantime, Teacher Su should remain in the relay station.”
Su Ziluo nodded. “If so, this humble one hopes that this issue would be quickly resolved.”
“However…” Su Ziluo suddenly continued, “This matter concerns both nations. I hope Your Majesty understands that some things are just not that simple.” His words held hidden meaning.
Even an idiot could understand this! What of ‘a life for a life’, or ‘sentencing by the laws of the Great Lin’? These were never Su Ziluo’s motives!
Jing Hua stared at him furiously and could not help himself but add, “Did you really want the Great Lin to repay one life with ten?”
Su Ziluo answered, “Your Highness has misunderstood.”
Su Ziluo solemnly replied, “If this matter could be written off with a life, then surely your Great Lin must owe our Qujiang countless lives?”
Su Ziluo’s cynical statement astonished the court. Before anyone could react, Su Ziluo had already wiped the strange smile off his face and raised his eyes, black as the abyss. He continued, “Five years ago when the Great Lin and Qujiang fought at Cangshui, the battle concluded in countless casualties and endless bloodshed. Our defeated Qujiang soldiers were forced to offer tributes to your Great Lin every year and even gave up two cities at Lu Hai Guan. These actions have been the unresolved regrets of us Qujiang people for many years. Now, if we can resolve these, then we won’t insist on the matter of General Yuchi.”
“How dare you!” Qi Zhen bellowed, slamming down his hands onto his throne.
Countless armed soldiers swiftly barged in and encircled Su Ziluo and his attendant. The two of them seemingly showed no fear as the soldiers drew their swords at them in unison.
Su Ziluo was still Su Ziluo! Even his attendant was as calm as he was.
But in the next moment, Qi Zhen slammed again on the throne. “How dare you!” All the soldiers immediately threw their swords away and dropped to their knees on the ground.
“Who gave you permission to carry your swords into the court?” Qi Zhen angrily reprimanded.
The Chief of the imperial guards raised his head and nervously eyed Crown Prince Jing Hua. Jing Hua broke out in a cold sweat and threw him a glance, hinting for him to keep his mouth shut.
‘If you dare reveal that it was my order, your entire family will perish!’
The Chief of the imperial guards understood and averted his glance, keeping silent.
In his fit of anger, Qi Zhen pointed at that man, “Men, behead him!”
“Please spare me, Your Majesty!”
“Drag him out.”
Someone entered, and pulled him out. The other kneeling soldiers frantically picked up their swords and quickly exited the court.
What a farce was that scene!
Su Ziluo paid no attention to them the whole time, only waiting for Qi Zhen to give him a reply.
Qi Zhen regained his composure and explained to Su Ziluo, “What happened just now was not directed at you, Teacher Su.”
“I understand!” He continued, “However, it is excusable even if Your Majesty decided to kill us both here.”
“If we killed you here, what could be said of our reputation?”
“Is that so? Then, what can be said of Your Majesty’s reputation in regards to General Yuchi’s death?”
“If you are seeking the return of those two cities from us, it’s impossible!”
There was no room for negotiation!
“Whether it’s possible or not, your Majesty should take your time, slowly reconsider, and not rush into a decision,” Su Ziluo stated in a slow tone.
Everyone else was waiting with bated breath.
Having stated his intentions clearly, Su Ziluo cupped his hands in front of his chest and declared, “This humble one will remain in the relay station. I hope Your Majesty will reconsider and form a clear view. This is my final suggestion!”
His attitude was equally firm.
Su Ziluo left Zhangzhi Hall under the public eye.
The Great Lin would need to return two cities built upon the blood of thousands of men in exchange for the measly life of a general.
‘Never!’ Qi Zhen would never agree!
Someone in court piped up. “Your Majesty, the Qujiang of today is not the Qujiang from five years ago. For example, they deployed only thirty thousand troops to stir up enough trouble at our border patrolled by a hundred thousand-strong army. They are now a force not to be belittled!”
“Is Lord Zhang suggesting that we return the cities?”
“This subject is only serving my humble opinion!”
‘Daring to clash opinions with His Majesty, you’re done for!’
At this point, Jing Yi glanced at Jing Rong and took his cue to speak up, “Imperial Father, your son feels that although this concerns the two nations’ relationship, there is no need to return the cities. That Teacher Su is no more than a meagre military officer and you need not pay any heed.”
Qi Zhen narrowed his eyes. “Then what do you suggest?”
“Pay no attention at all. Since it happened in the capital, it must be trialed according to the Great Lin’s laws. These are rules that cannot be ignored or belittled – everyone is equal; even if our opponent is a Qujiang General, all we need to do is to compensate them with some tael and jewelry.”
“Hm, what you said is not wrong.”
“Moreover, even though they have entered the capital on grounds of marriage, we have yet to establish if they have any ulterior motives. Imperial Father is the sovereign of a mighty empire. Naturally, you will not be led by something as trivial as Qujiang,” Jing Yi declared assuredly!
Others were convinced by Jing Yi that it had to be so!
Jing Hua could control himself no longer and blurted, “This time, your son agrees as well. We might as well kill Secretary Ji and give them a life for a life.” He was infuriated!
Although his own future Crown Princess was Ji Li’s sister, even the idiot Jing Hua knew that he should help his own kin and not outsiders. Or perhaps he was simply his father’s son, thinking that killing would solve all problems! If he became the emperor, even Hell would not be able to hold all the maligned wandering souls.
All the ministers were chattering!
During all this, only Jing Rong had kept quiet. He hurried out of the palace and chased after Su Ziluo who was just about to board his carriage.
“How could I help Prince Rong?” Su Ziluo was at least polite.
“How about we find some place to talk, Teacher Su?” Jing Rong was unabashedly straightforward.
“Prince Rong would like to have a chat at this critical time? Are you sure it is appropriate?”
“We will discuss only private matters, not work!”
Grenn’s Rants Corner
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